ὅ, ὅτι, ὅ τε

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269. The accusative neuter of the relative, when used adverbially (§ 133), yields the three "conjunctions" ὅ, ὅτι, ὅ τε, which mean properly in respect that, hence usually (a) because, or (b) that (after a verb of saying, knowing, etc.). The antecedent τό is generally wanting, but is found in a few instances

Il. 19.421 τὸ οἶδα καὶ αὐτός, ὅ τοι κτλ.

Il. 5.406 οὐδὲ τὸ οἵδε . . . ὅττι μάλʼ οὐ δηναιός κτλ.

Il. 1.120 λεύσσετε τό γε πάντες, ὅ μοι κτλ.

also Il. 15.217, 19.57, 20.466, and Od. 13.314 (seemingly the only instance in the Odyssey). These places, however, serve to show the origin of the idiom. We have here the phenomenon already noticed in § 267.5, viz. the relative has no construction in its own clause, but reflects the construction of the demonstrative in the principal clause.
E. g.

Il. 20.283 ταρβήσας ὅ οἱ ἄγχι πάγη βέλος
               dreading because the dart stuck near him

represents an older ταρβήσας (τὸ) ὃ πάγη βέλος. The adverbial accusative with ταρβήσας would express the nature or ground of dread (as in τό γε δείδιθι, τόδε χώεο, etc.); hence the meaning dreading in respect of (or because of) this, that the dart struck. Accordingly we find ὅ = because chiefly with verbs of feeling, which regularly take a neuter pronoun of the ground of feeling.[fn]The clauses of this type are the subject of Dr. Peter Schmitt's monograph, Ueber den Ursprung des Substantivsatzes mit Relativpartikeln im Griechischen (Würzburg, 1889). He rightly takes ὅ (ὅτι, etc.) to be an accusative of the "inner object" (§ 133), but he seems to have overlooked the real difficulty; which is that ὅ supplies an object to the verb of the principal clause, not to the verb of its own clause. Thus he says "ὁρῷ ὃ νοσεῖς war ursprünglich: ich weiss, was du krankst; οἶδ’ ὅ σε ἑπῄνεσε ich weiss, was er dich gelobt hat" (p. 21). But the two meanings, I know in what respect you are sick and I know that you are sick are quite distinct, and are given by essentially different constructions of the relative. Let us take as example a clause which follows a verb of feeling: ἐχώσατο ὅτι οἱ βέλος ἔκφυγε χειρός. The construction with ἐχώσατο is the accusative of the inner object (as τόδε χάεο, τό γε δείδιθι, etc.). But ὅτι is in a different clause from ἐχώσατο: the full construction would be ἐχώσατο (τὸ) ὅτι. Schmitt would say that ὅ τι ἔκφυγε also is an accusative of the inner object—that the sentence meant originally was angered in respect of this in respect of which it flew out. It is surely more probable that ἐχώσατο ὅ τι was like ἐξ οὗ from the time that, εἰς ὅ to the time that, οὕνεκα for the reason that, etc. (§ 267.5), so that ὅ τι was an accusative by attraction, and had no real construction with its own verb.[/fn]

  1. in respect that, because may be exemplified by

    Il. 16.835 Τρωσὶ φιλοπτολέμοισι μεταπρέπω, ὅ σφιν ἀμύνω
                    ἦμαρ ἀναγκαῖον
                    (fοr that I keep οff)

    Od. 1.382 Τηλέμαχον θαύμαζον ὃ θαρσαλέως ἀγόρευε

    So Il. 9.534 (χωσαμένη), Od. 19.543, 21.289 (οὐκ ἀγαπᾷς ὅ).

    The use to state a consequence as a gτοund of inference (like that of οὕνεκα in Il. 9.505, § 268) occurs in

    Od. 4.206 τοίου γὰρ καὶ πατρός, ὃ καὶ πεπνυμένα βάζεις
                     for you are of a wise father, (as I know)
                     because you speak wisely

    so Od. 18.392, and probably also

    Il. 21.150 τίς πόθεν εἰς ἀνδρῶν, ὅ μευ ἔτλης ἀντίος ἐλθεῖν;
                    who are you that you dare, etc.

    The transition to the use of use that may be seen in

    Od. 2.44 οὔτε τι δήμιον ἄλλο πιφαύσκομαι οὐδʼ ἀγορεύω
                   ἀλλʼ ἐμὸν αὐτοῦ χρεῖος, ὅ μοι κακὸν ἔμπεσεν οἴκῳ
                   what I tell is my own case (which consists in the fact)
                   that evil has fallen οn my hοuse

    It is common with οἴδα, γιγνώσκω (Il. 5.433, etc.), ἀΐω (Il. 15.248), and is found with verbs of seeing.

    Il. 1.120 λεύσσετε γὰρ τό γε πάντες ὅ μοι γέρας ἔρχεται ἄλλῃ
                  you see this, that my prize goes elsewhere
                  (Il. 19.144, 22.445, Od. 17.545)

  2. ὅτι because is common after the verbs of feeling. We need only stop to notice some instances (parallel to those of ὅ just quoted) in which ὅτι is = as I know because

    Il. 16.33 νηλεές. οὐκ ἄρα σοί γε πατὴρ ἦν ἱππότα Πηλεύς,
                  οὐδὲ Θέτις μήτηρ, γλαυκὴ δέ σε τίκτε θάλασσα,
                  πέτραι τʼ ἠλίβατοι, ὅτι τοι νόος ἐστὶν ἀπηνής

    meaning now I know that you are nο child of Peleus, etc., because your mind is relentless.

    Il. 21.410 νηπύτι, οὐδέ νύ πώ περ ἐπεφράσω ὅσσον ἀρείων
                    εὔχομʼ ἐγὼν ἔμεναι, ὅτι μοι μένος ἀντιφερίζεις

    Od. 5.339 κάμμορε, τίπτε τοι ὧδε Ποσειδάων ἐνοσίχθων
                    ὠδύσατʼ ἐκπάγλως, ὅτι τοι κακὰ πολλὰ φυτεύει
                    why is Poseidon so enraged against you
                    (as he seems to be) since he causes yοu many evils

    So Il. 10.142, 21.488, 24.240; Od. 14.367, 22.36.

    The transition to the meaning that may be seen in

    Il. 2. 255 ἧσαι ὀνειδίζων ὅτι οἱ μάλα πολλὰ διδοῦσι
                   reproaching him in respect that, with the fact that, etc.

    See Il. 24.538. It is the regular meaning with verbs of knowing.

    Il. 8.175 γιγνώσκω δʼ ὅτι μοι πρόφρων κατένευσε Κρονίων
                  I know that, etc.

    Il. 1.536 οὐδέ μιν Ἥρη ἠγνοίησεν ἰδοῦσʼ ὅτι οἱ κτλ.

    Il. 24.563 καὶ δέ σε γιγνώσκω . . . ὅττι θεῶν τίς σʼ ἦγε

    The use of ὅτι = that is commoner in the Iliad than in the Odyssey (where ὡς and οὕνεκα partly supply the place, see § 268).

  3. The form ὅ τε (so written by Bekker to distinguish it from ὅτε when) is found in Homer with the same varieties of meaning as ὅ and ὅτι, Thus we have ὅ τε = because in

    Il. 1.244 χωόμενος ὅ τʼ ἄριστον Ἀχαιῶν οὐδὲν ἔτισας
                  angry because, etc.

    Il. 6.126, 16.509, Od. 8.78. So

    Od. 5.356 μοι ἐγώ, μή τίς μοι ὑφαίνῃσιν δόλον αὖτε
                     ἀθανάτων, ὅ τέ με σχεδίης ἀποβῆναι ἀνώγει

    i. e. there is a snare in this bidding me to get off the raft. So probably

    Il. 1.518 ἦ δὴ λοίγια ἔργʼ ὅ τέ μʼ κτλ.
                  it is a pestilent thing that you, etc.

    Il. 19.56           ἦ ἄρ τι τόδʼ ἀμφοτέροισιν ἄρειον
                  ἔπλετο ὅ τε κτλ.

    and the exclamatory use (§ 267.3.c) in Il. 16.433

    ὤ μοι ἐγών, ὅ τε κτλ.
    alas for me that, etc.

    Again, ὅ τε is = as I know because, in

    Il. 4.31 δαιμονίη, τί νύ σε Πρίαμος Πριάμοιό τε παῖδες
                τόσσα κακὰ ῥέζουσιν, ὅ τʼ ἀσπερχὲς μενεαίνεις
                how do Priam and his sons do you such evil,
                (as they must do) since you are furiously enraged?

    Il. 15.467 ὢ πόποι, ἦ δὴ πάγχυ μάχης ἐπὶ μήδεα κείρει
                    δαίμων ἡμετέρης, ὅ τέ μοι βιὸν ἔκβαλε χειρός
                    (as judge from this) that he has thrown the bow
                    from my hands

    Od. 13.129 ὅ τέ με βροτοὶ οὔ τι τίουσι
                       for that mortals honor me not

    Od. 14.89 οἵδε δέ τοι ἴσασι . . . ὅ τʼ οὐκ ἐθέλουσι
                     they know something (as is plain) because
                     they are not willing

    Od. 21.253 τοσσόνδε βίης ἐπιδευέες εἰμὲν . . .
                       ὅ τʼ οὐ δυνάμεσθα
                       we are so wanting in strength, as appears
                       by the fact that we are not able

    With verbs of knowing, again, ὅ τε has the meaning that

    Il. 1.411 γνῷ δὲ καὶ Ἀτρεΐδης εὐρυκρείων Ἀγαμέμνων
                  ἥν ἄτην, ὅ τʼ ἄριστον Ἀχαιῶν οὐδὲν ἔτισεν
                   may know his folly, in that he failed to honor, etc.

    Od. 14.365           ἐγὼ δʼ εὖ οἶδα καὶ αὐτὸς
                       νόστον ἐμεῖο ἄνακτος, ὅ τʼ ἤχθετο πᾶσι θεοῖσι
                       I know of the return of my lοrd, that
                       (as it showed) he was hated by all the gods

    So Il. 8.251 εἴδονθʼ ὅ τʼ ἄρʼ κτλ. saw that, etc.; and with γιγνώσκω, Il. 5. 231, etc.

The existence of a distinct ὅ τε with the meaning because or that depends upon its being shown that in places such as those now quoted the word cannot be either ὅτι that or ὅτε when. The latter explanation of the reading ὅτε (or ὅτʼ) is often admissible

Il. 14.71 ᾔδεα μὲν γὰρ ὅτε . . . οἶδα δὲ νῦν ὅτε

Il. 15.207 ἐσθλὸν καὶ τὸ τέτυκται ὅτʼ . . . εἰδῇ

and instances in Attic, as

Soph. O. T. 1133 κάτοιδεν ἦμος κτλ.
                            he knows well of the time when, etc.

Eur. Trοad. 70 οἶδʼ ἡνίκʼ Αἴας εἷλκε

But the supposition of a distinct ὅ τε is supported by a sufficient number of examples in Homer

Il. 5.331 γιγνώσκων ὅ τʼ ἄναλκις ἔην θεός

and generally by the complete correspondence of meaning thus obtained between ὅ, ὅτι, and ὅ τε. On the other hand it is extremely improbable that the ι of ὅτι was ever capable of elision. In this respect ὅτι that stands on the same footing as τί and ὅτι. Moreover, the adverbial use of these words, which gives them the character of conjunctions, is only a slight extension of the ordinary accusative of the internal object (§ 133). Hence if the neuter of ὅς and ὅς τις is used in this way, it is difficult to see any reason why the neuter of the equally familiar ὅς τε shoαld be excluded. The ancient authorities and the MSS. vary in some places between ὅτε and ὅτι (as in Il. 14.71, 72, 16.35; Od. 13.129), and on such a point we have no good external authority.

270. ὅ, ὅτι, ὅ τε as Conjunctions. In a few instances it is impossible to explain these relatives by supplying an accusative τό in the principal clause. Thus in

Od. 20.333 νῦν δʼ ἤδη τόδε δῆλον, ὅ τʼ οὐκέτι νόστιμός ἐστι

the antecedent is a pronoun in the nominative. Similarly in

Il. 5.349 ἦ οὐχ ἅλις ὅττι γυναῖκας ἀνάλκιδας ἠπεροπεύεις;

the principal clause is impersonal, and the antecedent might be a nominative (is it not enough) or genitive (is there not enough in this), but hardly an accusative. Again in

Il. 8.362 οὐδέ τι τῶν μέμνηται, ὅ οἱ μάλα πολλάκις κτλ.

Il. 17.207 τῶν ποινήν, ὅ τοι κτλ.
                (as amends for the fact that)

the relative clause serves as a genitive.

Od. 11.540 γηθοσύνῃ ὅ οἱ κτλ.

Od. 12.374           ἄγγελος ἢλθεν . . .
                   ὅ οἱ κτλ.


Il. 9.493 τὰ φρονέων, ὅ μοι κτλ.

Il. 23.545 τὰ φρονέων ὅτι οἱ κτλ.

and also

Od. 2.116 τὰ φρονέουσʼ ἀνὰ θυμὸν ἅ οἱ κτλ.

where the v. l. ὅ for ἅ has good MS. authority.

In these instances, then, the forms ὅ, etc., have ceased to be felt as case forms, and may properly be termed conjunctions.

The moοd in all clauses of this kind is the indicative—not the optative, as in some Attic uses (Gοodwin, § 714).

It may be worth while pointing out the parallel between this extension of the relative clause and the development which has been observed in the use of the infinitive (§ 234). In the first instance the clause serves as epexegesis of an accusative with a verb of saying, knowing, feeling, etc. (§ 237.2).

μὴ δείδιθί τινα ὅψεσθαι
fear not anyone, for being likely to see

ταρβήσας (τὸ) ὅ ἄγχι πάγη βέλος
fearing (this), that the spear stuck near him

Then the accusative is used without reference to the construction of the principal verb and consequently the dependent clause may stand to it as logical subject.

οὔ τι νεμεσσητὸν βασιλῆα ἀπαρέσσασθαι
for a king to make his peace is no shame

οὐχ ἅλις ὅτι ἠπεροπεύεις
is (the fact) that you deceive not enοugh

where the clause in both cases serves as a nominative. Finally the clause is used as an indeclinable noun of any case

τῶν μέμνηται ὅ κτλ.
remembers this, that etc.

to which corresponds the so-called articular infinitive, or infinitive with the article as a substantive.

The three forms ὅ, ὅ τε, ὅτι do not differ perceptibly in meaning. Hence the reduction in Attic to the single ὅτι is no real loss.

270*. Indirect Discourse. Clauses introduced by ὅ (ὅ τε, ὅτι), ὡς, οὕνεκα after verbs of saying and knowing are evidently of the nature of oratio obliqua, or indirect quotation of the words of another person.

The Homeric language has no forms of syntax peculiar tο indirect discourse (such as the use of the optative or present indicative after a secondary tense). Every assertion is made from the speakerʼs own point of view: consequently what was present to the person quoted must be treated as now past. Accordingly, the present tense of the oratio directa becomes the imperfect, the perfect becomes the pluperfect. The future is thrown into past time by the help of μέλλω.

οὐδὲ τὸ ᾔδη ὃ οὐ πείσεσθαι ἔμελλεν
he knew not that he would not be persuaded

The only exception to this is Od. 13.340.

ᾔδεʼ ὅ νοστήσεις
I knew that you will (i.e. would) return

For an instance of the optative with ὡς after a verb of saying see § 305.2: and cp. the dependent question, § 248.

The clauses now in question are commoner after verbs of knowing, hearing, remembering, etc., than after verbs of saying. Of the former kind there are about 70 in Homer; of the latter, which may be counted as examples of true indirect discourse, there are 16. Of these, again, only two are in the Iliad (17.654, 22.439). This confirms the view that these clauses are originally causal the meaning that being derived from the meaning because (§ 268). If we confine ourselves to ὅ (ὅ τε) and ὅτι the proportion is still more striking, since out of more than 50 instances there are only four with a verb of saying.[fn]The figures are taken from Schmitt (Ursprung des Substantivsatzes), but include instances of ὅ τε which he refers to ὅτε when.[/fn]

Suggested Citation

D.B. Monro, A Grammar of the Homeric Dialect. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-947822-04-7. https://dcc.dickinson.edu/grammar/monro/%E1%BD%85-%E1%BD%85%CF%84%CE%B9-%E1%BD%85-%CF%84%CE%B5